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May-12-2009 12:29printcomments

Gas Prices Jump in Oregon and Across the U.S.

After five weeks as the fifth most expensive state, Oregon drops to eighth place.

Gas gauge empty
The stations are raising their prices as we approach the holiday weekend.

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Pump prices show some dramatic gains in the past week with Memorial Day just a couple weeks away. The national average for regular unleaded shot up 17 cents to $2.25, while Oregon's jumped ten cents to $2.36.

"It's the highest gas prices have been since the week of November 10, 2008." AAA Oregon Public Affairs Director Marie Dodds says, "Prices are up because of increased demand expected over the Memorial Day holiday and also because of signs that the global recession may be easing, which could lead to a rebound in world oil consumption."

She says one encouraging note is there haven't been any major mechanical malfunctions as U.S. refineries switched over to the more expensive summer blends of fuel. Sometimes the switchover can result in disruptions in supply that can cause prices to spike."

After spending much of the spring around $50 per barrel, crude oil prices have shot up and even reached $60 during trading today, the highest level since last November. Dodds says, "Crude prices aren't expected to continue climbing at this pace, and shouldn't come anywhere near last July's record high of $147 per barrel. One factor keeping prices in check is last week's report from the U.S. Department of Energy that crude storage levels have reached a 19-year high."

Barring any unforeseen disruptions in the supply of crude or gasoline, AAA believes summer travelers can expect the national average to top out somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.50 per gallon, which is well below the record high of $4.11 set last July.

In Oregon, the statewide average could go as high as $2.75, which is significantly less than the record high of $4.29 set on July 3, 2008.

Despite the recent jumps, pump prices are still well below a year ago when the national average was $3.72 and Oregon's was $3.74.

Portland's price of $2.338 per gallon for regular beats Salem's average cost of $2.345. Drivers in the Eugene/Springfield area are currently seeing an average of $2.357 for a gallon of gas, and the average price for regular in the Medford/Ashland area is $2.414. Self-serve regular in Vancouver, Washington is going for an average of $2.402.

Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia have averages for regular unleaded at or above $2 a gallon this week, up from 37 states (including D.C.) last week.

The most expensive gas in the country for the 46th week in a row is Alaska at $2.61, followed by Hawaii at $2.53, Washington at $2.47 (up ten cents and holding steady in third place for the second week in a row) California at $2.45, and Illinois at $2.42.

After five weeks as the fifth most expensive state, Oregon drops to eighth place. Arizona has the least expensive gas for the second consecutive week at $1.99 and is the only state with an average below $2 per gallon.

Diesel prices are ticking up. The national average rises two-and-a-half cents to $2.28, while Oregon’s average gains three cents to $2.40.

Hawaii has the highest statewide average price for diesel again this week at $3.81, followed by Alaska at $3.37, District of Columbia at $2.84, New York at $2.62, and Connecticut at $2.60.

Oregon's average diesel price is 13th most expensive, up from 14th last week. Washington's diesel price adds four cents to $2.54 and is sixth highest for the fourth consecutive week. A year ago, the national average for diesel was $4.36 and Oregon's average was $4.43.

Source: Oregon AAA

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Scott May 12, 2009 1:05 pm (Pacific time)

... and remember Dr. Chu (current Energy Secretary) who said in December 2008 "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe". Maybe Dr. Chu can't really have a direct affect on our energy prices, but sheesh, he's a cabinet member. i don't think for a second that his sentiment is one only found in his cabinet office.

Scott May 12, 2009 12:58 pm (Pacific time)

The President said (while campaigning, June 2008) that he didn't mind the high fuel prices, he was just suprised how quickly they got there. I'm convinced that in order to make expensive alternative energy methods seems affordable, he won't mind fossil fuel prices going sky high once again. Bo said Americans wouldn't mind the high prices, we just needed a "gradual adjustment" to them.

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